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National Electric Watch Cleaning Machine


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14 minutes ago, Noho said:

Using tap water instead of distilled water could potentially impact the effectiveness of the cleaning solution, or left some residue on the parts.

interesting if you read the sheet for your cleaning product that says that for the cleaning fluid you can mix it with  Tap water and de-ionised water are suitable. So the tap water is suitable the cleaning but for the rinse their very clear that you need to use rinsed with de-ionised water. they drop the option of either or for the rinse and only list one of those. The problem with tap water is you have no idea what's really in your water and how it into reacts with whatever you're trying to clean

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1 hour ago, Noho said:

Thanks John for the feedback. Wouldnt be suprised that my issue is linked to water. Found a nice article regarding deionised vs distilled water. Looks like distilled is one step beyond so might try this.

 

https://www.chemicals.co.uk/blog/deionised-water-or-distilled-water

Yep. Deionized-no electricity. Distilled-no bugs and rocks. That's exactly how it was explained to me in trade school long ago and how I remember. I use distilled water even in my ultrasonic machine. Keeps it from becoming a "science project."

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Reverse osmosis (RO) water is another to consider. Distilled water is expensive and not eco friendly. It takes a lot of energy to convert water into steam then condense it back into water. Unless if you live in Iceland or Hawaii where there is plenty of geothermal energy.

I used to have a water distiller in my office to produce distilled water for my autoclave and ultrasonic cleaner. It would take almost a whole day to produce a gallon of distilled water. 

I switched to RO water about 20 years ago. The RO water filter can produce a gallon in minutes. RO water is almost as pure as distilled water, no bacteria, viruses, particulate matter, etc. Only very tiny amounts of minerals remain. 

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Using tap water depends on the quality of the water. In my area it is very high in chalk so calcium build up on household appliances is a constant battle. However I do use it with my ultra sonic (Clock parts and watch straps) as cleaning and drying the tank is easy.  But thoroughly cleaning a watch cleaner basket is a challenge.

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  • 2 weeks later...

So, i received some distilled water today and cleaned a watch with it, and now the parts are all clean and shiny, no more whitish deposit. Im very happy with the result. These old Elma machines are really rock solid and do a pretty damn job, still after 50 years 🙂

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NickP (and others who may be able to help) - How much did you pay for the National watch cleaning machine, if you don't mind me asking. Or does anyone have an idea what they should go for?

I currently have the same machine - It was my father's machine as he was a watch repairer around the 1970's. I intend to put it up for sale but i'm unsure for how much. It's not been used for over 40 odd years so I don't know it's condition and I don't feel confident trying to power it.

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  • 2 months later...
  • 2 weeks later...
On 8/18/2018 at 6:51 AM, clockboy said:

The colour of the fluid looks wrong. The rinse is clear and the cleaner a very light brownish colour NOT green. Was there contamination in the cleaning jar. The only other issue I can think of is if the jars are not spinning at the correct speed. 

Today, I emptied my little jewelry ultrasonic which had the LR fine solution in it.  Yes it starts out light brown and ends up green or dark green.  The color change must be due to a chemical reaction between the cleaner and brass.  It is not due to a colloidal suspension.  We need a chemist on this board.

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1 hour ago, LittleWatchShop said:

Today, I emptied my little jewelry ultrasonic which had the LR fine solution in it.  Yes it starts out light brown and ends up green or dark green.  The color change must be due to a chemical reaction between the cleaner and brass. 

You left out details? Either that or I'm lazy and don't want to go back several pages to get the details?

I noticed the cleaning solution when it starts out brand-new is very light brown. But if you keep it from long period of time it tends to get darker with age.

Then the green and blue how long did it take to get this pretty color?

I really try to forget this memory from school but yes the reason why your solution is blue-green that is copper leached out from the plates over time perhaps? The ammonia is a beautiful substance for making things bright and shiny it removes the tarnished but leave it too long it removes the copper. If you elevate the temperature the cleaning fluid Which is not recommended by the manufacturer usually speeds up doing its cleaning and etching.

 

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22 minutes ago, JohnR725 said:

You left out details? Either that or I'm lazy and don't want to go back several pages to get the details?

I noticed the cleaning solution when it starts out brand-new is very light brown. But if you keep it from long period of time it tends to get darker with age.

Then the green and blue how long did it take to get this pretty color?

I really try to forget this memory from school but yes the reason why your solution is blue-green that is copper leached out from the plates over time perhaps? The ammonia is a beautiful substance for making things bright and shiny it removes the tarnished but leave it too long it removes the copper. If you elevate the temperature the cleaning fluid Which is not recommended by the manufacturer usually speeds up doing its cleaning and etching.

 

Well...it is pretty simple.  I put fresh L&R in the ultrasonic.  Then I clean a bunch of brass tools (pin vises, etc.) and then the fluid is dark green.  So, I figure, at the atomic level, an new chemical structure is formed which now includes copper and zinc.  I noticed that after awhile, the cleaning ability of the solution deteriorates.  That makes sense as the solid solubility of the initial solution is saturated and can no longer incorporate (absorb, chemically combine...) with any more.  I am not a chemist.  My career has dealt with columns 3,4, and 5 of the periodic table...that is it!  And for those...just in the solid crystalline form.

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31 minutes ago, LittleWatchShop said:

Then I clean a bunch of brass tools (pin vises, etc.) and then the fluid is dark green. 

In this particular case you're probably see exactly what you're supposed to be seeing? In other words you clean the whole bunch of really dirty brass objects and now they're hopefully clean brass objects? Were they shiny brass objects before and now their frosty brass that would be bad but more than likely are just seeing all the tarnish and a little bit of the copper. As far as I know the only thing to make the solution blue or green would be the copper.

Then perception of cleaning? The perception of cleaning here by my definition is things look bright and shiny. So conceivably and I'm not a chemist either The ammonia probably as it does its thing changes its properties we need a chemist or a chemical engineer. So basically use simulated cleaning a whole bunch of watches all at once the solution is going to turn dirty and possibly green.

Conceivably though once the ammonia is all gone the solution would still clean because the soap like properties are still there it just won't have things bright and shiny.

 

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1 hour ago, JohnR725 said:

Conceivably though once the ammonia is all gone the solution would still clean because the soap like properties are still there it just won't have things bright and shiny.

What I have observed in a very recent test...the fresh L&R does an incredible job of cleaning when the spent L&R was not having much effect.  So, I am pretty sure that there is a solubility thing going on, reducing the efficacy of the cleaner.  I wish I had done a before and after for it is dramatic.

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I use L&R in my Pearl watch cleaning machine and have tried many others but always revert back to L&R. It does colour due to the oils & dirt etc but stays effective for many washes. With experience I just know when to change, it starts to require longer periods of washing to clean. To extend it’s life any really dirty parts I pre clean.

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  • 2 months later...

I'm currently restoring one of these (mk V). I got lucky and the only thing broken was one of the switches and missing one jar lid.

Parts wise it was in horrible condition (think an actual mouse skeleton in the casing condition) so I'm just nearing the end of repainting/cleaning all the bits and pieces before moving on to the rewiring stage.

As I get closer to the end I'm left wondering what speed this thing should actually run at? I bought a new motor controller and am tossing up between using it or the rheostat it came with. I wired it up on the bench and the motor appears to run from "tortoise slow" right up to "spin my face off fast". Does anyone have any quantifiable figures for an approximate/max RPM this should be run at during the cleaning cycle?

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  • 3 months later...

Hi all. I know that this is an older discussion, but to all those that own or have restored one of these machines (the 60's or 70's cream ones), I wondered what type of rheostat/potentiometer was fitted. Mine has a 5 tap variable resistance bar ( broken) but I wanted to change it to a fully variable rheo/pot.  It would be great to have sufficient detail to allow for easy purchase. I think I would need to include resistance (I am guessing 1.5k to 2k Ohm), but what sort of wattage. We are 240V here in Aus. Any details or links would be great.

Further, like a lot of machines, mine came without the 6.1cm baskets....the  one with the holes on each side to connect not the "up and turn type".  I saw a couple on a French ebay site but they would not post to Australia. I'd prefer not to change to the bigger Elma style basket, so if anyone knows where I can pick one up, please let me know.

Lastly, I have just purchased a Suisse Technik (Portescop) automatic Vibrasonic cleaning machine. I think Bulova also had a branded version. Apart from a single Swiss advertisement, I can't find any further information on the web. If anyone has, or knows where I can find manuals, user guides etc, I'd be grateful of a pdf or a chat. 

Cheers and thanks for reading to the end, John

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Hi John

I recently restored a Mark V version of this and was also contemplating on replacing the rheostat. Turns out mine just needed a bit of a clean and worked fine after that.

The previous person who had been inside the machine helpfully wrote 2.5k on the rheostat, I measured it and it was accurate so hopefully that helps.

I'm in NZ so also 240V, I can't comment too much on the wattage, I did measure the amps being drawn at full load while I was doing the restoration but can't remember specifics. I can only say that it was quite low, my multimeter has a 250ma fuse and that didn't blow while running full tilt but did after a few "switch on" "switch off" cycles.

I can't help with your other two questions sorry!

Cheers

IMG_20210914_170332.jpg

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Thanks for the response Darthkram. In the pic below you will see what I am trying to replace. It's a long (broken) variable resister with 4 taps giving 5 speed positions. It's a 1.5k ohm Cressell.1765975683_RosenthalPot.thumb.jpg.2b721754f805f28b5a7e1a72695db538.jpg The other pic is the potentiometer from my Elma super elite. It is a 2k ohm pot and has a series of markings on it - P40; WM110. If anyone knows what those markings mean, I'd be very interested as it may help in swapping out for a little less worn alternative

107897535_CressallResistor.thumb.jpg.7e47d4e92588c30054f1ffe4dd545e37.jpg

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  • 1 year later...
On 6/11/2019 at 10:52 AM, yankeedog said:

I dont know about the ID of the coils but you could also cut sections , of oh say 12 AWG solid conductor wire and insert them inside the coils connecting the sections together.just so it's inserted for a few turns on each side. it will get hot.

There seems to be a lot you are unaware of. But you were ready to connect up unknown wire of unknown resistance and expose your home to these unknowns, man that could burn down your house. Check with a coffee warmer repair guy... your insurance guy must be a saint.

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  • 3 months later...

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